No choice but to surrender beloved cat
Indie came to me from SAFE Newman in 2016 as a 2-year-old foster cat and we decided to adopt him not long after. He was quite agitated and unsettled when we first got him and wasn't a fan of humans but warmed up to the other animals (we had a cat and a dog at the time). Indie came from a house full of cats, so I knew that was his safe haven environment, but soon enough he became a part of the family.
We moved to Karratha beginning of 2019 with Indie. We were very lucky to find a rental that allowed pets at that time. We then had to move again as baby #2 was on the way and we needed more space to accommodate our growing household.
We started looking for a place in April 2020 (our lease was up end of August) during which the rental market had taken off again and rent prices were starting to rise. At this stage it was beginning to be very competitive to get a rental, let alone find a rental that also allowed pets. We were very fortunate to get our ideal house; it was only across the road, a big 4x2 with a massive garden. When our application was accepted I couldn't believe it, I actually cried.
As the months went by, we struggled to decide whether we should build, buy or stay stuck in the rental trap. There was also the horrid fear of knowing that our rent would increase at the end of our lease period and we were already paying $850 per week. We made the decision to move to Perth in April 2021 and ended up staying with my in-laws for the interim until we decided to either find a rental or buy a house.
Unfortunately, my in-laws didn't allow cats but were happy to have our dog stay, which was a relief, but also heartbreak at the same time as I knew I would have to find either a temporary place for Indie to stay or a permanent home.
I had asked around and found a family friend who was willing to take Indie, but as time got closer, they too were unsure of where they would be in six months and didn't want to commit to having a pet who they may have to give up themselves. And seeing as we had no exact date to when we would have our own home, it was a lot of stress for them to take on. We didn't find this out until July when we were about to move. I begged and pleaded with my Mum in Karratha to take Indie, but she also was in a rental that didn't allow pets.
This is where it got harder. I felt so guilty that I had put my cat in this position. I was meant to take care of him and now I didn’t know what to do or where to take him. And to be honest, I despised people who gave their animals up because they had to move.
I called SAFE WA who suggested possible catteries in Perth. I thought about just having temporary foster care until we found a house of our own, but in reality, I didn't know when that would be. I knew Perth’s rental market was competitive enough as it is, let alone find a rental that would even allow pets.
I can't explain the amount of anxiety we felt trying to find a pet friendly rental. I know many landlords are sceptical of letting tenants have animals, but we always respected the owner’s rules regarding pets and kept their house in immaculate condition even though we had pets. We always kept gardens tidy and free of any animal faeces and had fumigation done at the end of leases.
As renters, we have never had any issues or complaints about our animals from landlords and real estate throughout our lease period or routine inspections. We have the references to back that up! I feel if landlords were more open to pets, people like myself would be more than happy to do whatever it takes to respect rules and to even pay the extra pet bond required.
It also opens up opportunity to be able to help an organisation, such as SAFE, to give temporary foster homes to pet owners in need. I know it is hard to draw the line, but pet renters also understand that any damage caused by our pets, we are liable and would never dispute otherwise.
I can't imagine what we would have done without SAFE. They found a carer and just made the process of leaving our cat behind much easier for us even though it wasn't their burden. We are forever grateful to SAFE for helping our family and cannot thank them enough for what they have done.